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Establishment V. Clintons

In my piece this week, I tried to get at establishment Washington's frustrations with the Clintons, which have boiled over in recent weeks but have been simmering for years. Last night Politico editor John Harris, one of the most astute Clinton observers around, weighed in with his own take on this phenomenon, and it's well worth your time. The opening anecdote alone is worth the price of your click:

In September 1998, Greg Craig, a lion of the Washington legal community, left a top job at the State Department to go to the White House to help Bill Clinton fight impeachment during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

One of his first stops was to an old Democratic friend, Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, who warned him what he was stepping into: “You’re about three days away from a delegation of senior Democrats coming up there to ask the president to resign.”

Since New Hampshire, my assumption has been that the longer the Democratic race goes on, the more it favors Hillary. I thought her institutional advantages would help her grind out victories later in the race in places where neither candidate had much organization or any money to spend, while Obama was more dependent on momentum, which can fade pretty quickly. But I'm rapidly revising that assumption. I now think a long, drawn-out race may favor Obama. The more the establishment types Harris and I wrote about get frustrated with the Clintons, the more attractive turning the page becomes, at which point the institutional advantages (interest groups, unions, local Democratic officials, etc.) start to favor Obama.

--Noam Scheiber